Protestation of Integrity and Prayer for Protection.
A Psalm of David.
1 aVindicate me, O LORD, for I have walked in my integrity,
And I have trusted in the LORD dwithout wavering.
2 Examine me, O LORD, and try me;
Test my mind and my heart.
3 For Your lovingkindness is before my eyes,
And I have walked in Your truth.
4 I do not sit with deceitful men,
Nor will I go with bpretenders.
5 I hate the assembly of evildoers,
And I will not sit with the wicked.
6 I shall wash my hands in innocence,
And I will go about Your altar, O LORD,
7 That I may proclaim with the voice of thanksgiving
And declare all Your wonders.
8 O LORD, I love the habitation of Your house
And the place where Your glory dwells.
9 Do not take my soul away along with sinners,
Nor my life with men of bloodshed,
10 In whose hands is a wicked scheme,
And whose right hand is full of bribes.
11 But as for me, I shall walk in my integrity;
Redeem me, and be gracious to me.
12 My foot stands on a level place;
In the congregations I shall bless the LORD.
THIS PSALM IS a prayer for redemption founded on an extended protestation of personal innocence, which the psalmist invites the penetrating gaze of divine scrutiny to confirm and honor.
David began by entrusting himself entirely to God’s perfect justice. He implores God to vindicate him, to take account of David’s moral integrity and judge him on that basis. David recognized his integrity was less than perfect by his use of the phrase my integrity, in which the possessive pronoun indicates his adherence to integrity as he understood it, yet which was still not unadulterated by sin; David is not claiming perfection but his best intentions to follow the Lord without wavering. God would examine (as in a court of law) and try (as precious metals are tried for the quality of the ore) not only his actions, but his mind (seat of knowledge/understanding) and heart (seat of emotions/affections and the active inner person).
While recognizing his imperfection and failings, David, rather than succumbing to despair, determined to continue to walk in my integrity and appealed to God’s mercy to redeem me, implying forgiveness, not requiting the full penalty that his sins merited (cf. Ezr 9:13), and asks God to be gracious to me (grant him the help he does not merit). Thus, he will be able to continue his attempt to walk in [his] integrity. In this respect it is important that he spend time in the congregations of the faithful (as opposed to “the assembly of evildoers” in v. 5) praising God with those who were of the same mind as he, who affirmed their need for God’s mercy and grace and would therefore encourage him along in his walk—no doubt often meeting at the tabernacle to do so
The psalm begins and ends on the note of blamelessness (1, 11–12), invites divine examination (2) and divine action (9, 10), and centres on confessions of innocence, negatively regarding his life among people (4, 5), and positively, regarding his life with God (6–8). What David could sincerely claim in a specific set of circumstances should be our constant ambition.